Why I decided to roll back to iOS 6

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| June 26, 2013

It's been a little over two weeks since Apple's WWDC kicked off. Here we heard about the much rumored iOS 7, and shortly thereafter several of us here at PhoneDog decided to toy with the beta release of the updated software. My initial impressions of iOS 7 were mostly positive, with a follow-up article of things I would have changed. After two weeks of using iOS 7, I've actually decided to roll back to iOS 6.

My phone was really bad at handling iOS 7. I'm 112% positive it has something to do with it being in beta, and those things were expected. However, after consulting with a couple of sources who were also testing iOS 7 using the iPhone 5, I found that none of them were having as much trouble as I was with force closes, battery issues, and random reboots.

I mentioned in one of my articles before that I think iOS 7 is the software that will start to really show the iPhone 4S's age. iOS 7 will likely be aimed for optimal performance on the next generation iPhone, which we expect to see in the fall, and with the 4S being two generations behind the new phone I can only assume it will follow in the footsteps of the iPhone 3GS (e.g., "Going, going, gone"). The phone will be able to support the update, but the main focus will be on making the most out of the iPhone 5, and more importantly, the iPhone that comes after that. On a side note, I can say that through my experience with phones that Apple has done the best job of keeping the iPhone afloat for the longest amount of time between upgrades. Although I still think manufacturers should keep phones relevant for longer, I have found that Apple's few and far in between releases is what help keep the devices relevant for longer than most other devices.

But more importantly, aside from the bugginess, I think I realized that the changes in iOS 7 weren't that captivating. A lot of people have grown tired of the design on the "old" iOS, but personally (and especially after experiencing iOS 7 personally) I prefer the old design. I find it to be more alluring. I agree that there were some design aesthetics that were due for a change (for example, I absolutely despise the denim background for the notification center) but I find the entire redesign of iOS 7 to be a little too minimalist in some areas. The text seems a little harder to read, and I've also noticed that even though the stock icons have changed to be more simplified, you still have most of the 800,000+ apps in the app store that need to redesign their app icons to fit that minimalistic theme since most of them have created their icons to have a more complex design. The way the two designs clash on screen is pretty noticeable to me.

There are some really cool features about iOS 7 that I enjoyed. I mean, animated wallpapers have been around since flip phones were big, so it shouldn't be anything to ooh or ahh about - didn't stop me from getting excited about it anyway. I thought the parallax effect was pretty neat, because even the "still" wallpapers still seemed to be lively with phone movement. Also, since going back to iOS 6 I find that I still try to swipe up for control center settings. I especially miss my included flashlight. It was also easy to adjust to some of the new gesture-based features of the redesign, which was nice.

I've mentioned that it looked like iOS 7 took a step backwards in time when it comes to design, and I still feel this way. If I hadn't seen either version of iOS and you placed two phones in front of me, one running on iOS 7 and the other running on iOS 6, I would have probably guessed that iOS 7 was some sort of pre-release design and iOS 6 was a final version (strictly speaking design-wise). The subtle shadows underneath the icons and text, and the slight glare that most applications used on their icons just make it look more advanced compared to iOS 7. 

There was a lot that I enjoyed about the changes in iOS 7, and I suspect I would have enjoyed it more if I had a device that handled it better. I also realize that I was late to the iOS party - the first iOS device was released in 2007, but with me being primarily a Sprint customer (and for a short while, T-Mobile) my first real hands-on experience with an iPhone was fairly recent, in 2011. Since not even two years has passed since I was first introduced to the device, I think that I'm still not quite as tired of the design as people who have been using the design for about 6 years by this point. I get bored with it because I've had the phone for so long, but I also realize that this happens with just about every phone I have. And, as Marc pointed out recently, there are ways to renew interest in your phone once you grow bored of it.

I don't think iOS 7 is a bad design; in fact, I think a lot of people are surprised by how much they enjoy it. I was even surprised by how much I didn't despise it. Regardless, I still don't really like it. The euphoria of having it on my device has worn off, and with each passing day I began missing iOS 6 even more. So, in the end, I've decided to roll back to iOS 6 - at least for now. I am still interested in seeing the changes that iOS 7 makes through its various beta stages until its launch; it will be interesting to see what the final product will be like.

Readers, what have your thoughts on iOS 7 been since its official announcement? Do you prefer the design of iOS 6 or 7 more? Whatever the case may be, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below!